Low-income families in Kirklees face a double cost-of-living blow as council house rents rise by 7.7% and help with council tax bills is cut.
Kirklees Council’s Cabinet has agreed to increase rents from April 1 2024 by 7.7%.
That means the average increase will be £5.36 per week for a one-bedroomed property, £6.36 per week for a two-bedroomed, £7.16 per week for a three-bedroomed and £7.57 per week for a four-bedroomed. Service charges will also rise.
Clr Moses Crook, Cabinet member for housing, said: “Our difficult decision to increase rents by 7.7%, in line with government guidelines, is vital in maintaining and improving the quality and safety of our council housing stock.
“We understand our tenants’ financial pressures, particularly in the current financial situation, and we will ensure that there is support in place for anyone who is struggling.”
At the same meeting the Cabinet made changes to its Council Tax Reduction Scheme which will need to be approved by full council on December 13.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme is the way the council helps people on low incomes pay their council tax bill.
The current scheme subsidises council tax payments for approximately 23,500 working age and 11,000 pension age households and costs the council approximately £35.5 million per year.
Asking working age people to pay a minimum of 25% instead of 20% will save the council around £4.3 million a year.
Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for finance and regeneration, said: “In these challenging times, that we are facing due to the underfunding of local government and the lack of a fair funding policy, we are committed to protecting our most vulnerable residents whilst ensuring that support is equitable and realistic.
“The decision to change our provision for council tax reduction is not one we have taken lightly, however.
“Our Council Tax Reduction Scheme currently provides more support than any other West Yorkshire local authority and, even with the potential changes, will remain better or in line with others.
“The proposed changes could mean that millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money can be redirected to other vital council services and on providing continuing support for our lowest income households.”